Giggles erupt from the other room. I smile, loving the sound. Emmy is having a playdate with one of her preschool friends while Lily is at school.
A playdate isn’t necessarily a break for Mommy. I often think it will be, but in this case I am making lunch or bringing out yet another activity. I love how Emmy’s guest exclaims at every “new” toy she sees, “I didn’t know you had THIS!” as though it is the most wonderful toy she has ever played with.
Four year olds have an amazingly short attention span. I stop what I am doing to look for the mate to a sparkly dress-up shoe. I never find it. I can’t find a matching pair of dress-up shoes ANYWHERE. How can this be? My daughters have every single pair of princess dress-up shoes ever made, including Tinker Bell slippers. (I don’t really consider Tinker Bell a princess, but Emmy inform me that Tinker Bell is a fairy princess.) Fortunately, our guest has no problem with wearing a blue Cinderella shoe on her left foot and a yellow Belle shoe on her right.
We stop playing to eat lunch. They are done with their mac ‘n cheese and carrot sticks before I even have a chance to sit down with them.
I change the batteries to a walking dog; I bring out musical instruments for a “princess parade,” and then, after they each scarf down a sprinkle-covered cupcake, we go outside.
I think I will be able to sit on the porch and relax, but I am needed. I put on bike helmets, take off bike helmets, get out scooters, pull a wagon, and bring out bubbles.
A whirl of activity surrounds me. Just as I sit down, they make the request to go back inside to play for the last few minutes of the playdate. I get back up.
I am smiling as I write this post; Emmy’s friend has gone home, and Emmy is resting as she watches Clifford, the Big Red Dog. I think about the future. How long until there are two teenaged girls giggling up in Emmy’s room? How long until the word “playdate” will disappear and “hanging out” will replace it?
I don’t dread those days; they will just be different. But will I long for these four-year-old days again? Maybe. I also like to think I will relish those teenage days ahead just as much as I relish these four-year-old days that will soon be behind me.